The Hague's mayor, Jozias van Aartsen, of the Dutch center-right People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD), is known for raising eyebrows when it comes to Islamic extremism. In early July 2014, during demonstrations protesting Israel's Operation Protective Edge in the Gaza strip against the Hamas terrorist organization, Van Aartsen stated that "No boundaries were crossed" when ISIS supporters chanted the anti-Jewish battle cry: "Khaybar Khaybar, ya yahud, Jaish Muhammad, sa yahud" ["Jews, remember Khaybar, the army of Muhammad is returning"] -- basically an incitement to genocide -- and "death to the Jews." Other chants included, "Jews should return to the sewer" and "Long live Hitler." Islamists also threatened journalists.
Van Aartsen responded through his spokesman and with an interview in the Netherlands' most politically correct newspaper, NRC-Handelsblad. In it, he called the controversy around his statements "an exaggerated smear campaign," and spun the entire matter into a rant against Geert Wilders (of the Dutch Freedom Party) -- without, of course, Van Aartsen ever being hindered or questioned further by the interviewer.
Another episode in which Van Aartsen generated controversy was during New Year's Eve 2014, when Salafists from the As-Soennah Mosque patrolled the streets of The Hague's Schilderswijk and Transvaal neighborhoods, ostensibly to "prevent youths from causing trouble" -- with the full approval of the city council.
Officers from The Hague's police department are shown visiting the As Soennah Mosque on December 27, 2014 -- four days before Salafists from the mosque mounted their street patrols. (Image source: The Hague Police)
Geert Wilders's Dutch Freedom Party and the Party for The Netherlands (composed of two ex-Freedom Party members), were fiercely opposed to these patrols.
The Dutch Intelligence and Security Service published a report (p.15) in which it states, about the As Soennah Mosque, that, "The Salafist ideology contains elements that are conflicting with democratic legal order and can contribute to intolerance, isolationism and polarization."
In an earlier report (p.68) the agency states that,
"Multiple Dutch terror convicts from the Hofstad Network, including Theo van Gogh's killer, visited the Salafist al-Tawheed mosque in Amsterdam and/or the As-Soennah mosque in The Hague on a regular basis, after which they radicalized further outside of these mosques [by themselves, Ed.]. Two convicted members of the Hofstad Network entered their religious marriages in the As-Soennah mosque. This implies at least that these terrorist at some point in their lives were confronted with this ideology and might have been influenced by it."
A spokesman from the As-Soennah mosque, Abdurrahmaan Kat, has stated that his mosque opposes the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which is incorporated into the Dutch constitution. "Dutch society is based on a godless foundation enshrined in Universal Human Rights, and we do not believe in that," he said. According to the Cairo Declaration of Human Rights in Islam, which contradicts the Universal Declaration in that it is based solely on Islamic Sharia law, everything inside Sharia law is a human right; everything that falls outside Sharia law is not a human right. Examples include Sharia compliance in unequal legal protection for men and for women, key points such as equal rights for men and women, and the lack of freedom of religion.
When the Salafi patrols started in 2011, radical preacher Fawaz Jneid was still the most prominent preacher in the As-Soennah mosque. Before the 2004 murder of Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh, Jneid stated during a sermon: "O Allah, curse Van Gogh with a disease that couldn't be healed by the entire human race if they tried."
Jneid also stated during a sermon, about then Dutch MP Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who had written Van Gogh's film "Submission": "O Allah, blind Ayaan Hirsi Ali as you've blinded her heart. O Allah, blind her sight, give her brain cancer. O Allah, give her tongue cancer."
Many Dutch terrorism convicts are known to have listened to these sermons before committing their crimes. Jneid was fired from the mosque in 2012, but due to a professional -- not an ideological -- dispute.
Although the leaders of the As-Soennah mosque denounce the current Islamic State Caliphate, they are very much in favor of imposing a caliphate on their own terms: "No one can deny that there will one day be a Caliphate, but the traditions of the Prophet (pbuh) teach that this will be one of justice, fairness and leniency."
A prominent figure within the mosque, the Dutch convert and former Freedom Party member, Arnoud van Doorn, recently affirmed this position, writing on Twitter: "As a Muslim, of course I support the Caliphate (albeit on the right Islamic foundations)."
Mayor Van Aartsen has now responded to queries submitted by the local Freedom Party and For the Netherlands Party, which strongly condemned the Islamist New Year's Eve patrols.
Van Aartsen stated:
"About 300 residents of the Schilderswijk neighborhood have positively contributed to the orderly passing of New Year's Eve. They have done so by functioning as the eyes and ears of the police and they have addressed residents when they disturbed the peace. They have done so under supervision of the police and within the framework of Dutch law. Their faith is thus of no concern here. [author's emphasis.] There was no case of enforcing Sharia law or Islamization, but of supporting the upholding of Dutch law by police. This is a win-win situation, which improves the relationship between the police and residents and contributes to an orderly passing of New Year's Eve."
By giving the signal that Salafists can patrol the streets with government-sanctioned authority, Van Aartsen is responsible for facilitating, empowering and consolidating Muslim enclaves on Dutch soil -- exactly as many Salafists would probably prefer.
He is, in fact, handing a Muslim minority a parallel society, increasingly controlled by Muslims, that actively opposes Dutch (political) culture. Yet, in Van Aartsen's words, this is somehow a win-win situation.
The Dutch-Romanian author, Nausicaa Marbe, summarized the situation: "As if a neighborhood gets safer when the authorities cooperate with Salafists. If they are a necessity for maintaining order in the streets, then the city has suffered deeper wounds than any New Year's Eve vandalism can inflict."